Library - In Memoriam

Remembering oral history interviewees who have passed away.

Jimmy Cheatham was one of the coolest jazz cats in the industry. Having worked with many of the top jazz players such as Duke Ellington and Ornette Coleman, Jimmy brought the sounds of tradition jazz to film scores and television programs over several decades. Jimmy’s warm personality was only watched by the smooth sounds of his trombone. When teamed with his wife, the jazz and blues pianist Jeannie Cheatham, the tones were unmistakable, clear and often strikingly intimate.

Peter Hayward was the chairman and founder of Australis Music Group. He founded Australis Music in 1973 and over the next 33 years he made an enormous contribution to the music industry and formed so many close relationships with people from all parts of the world. His understanding of the growth and development of the Australian music industry was second to none. Peter was the past President of the AMA and an Industry Award recipient. During the interview, Mr.

Jay McShann ​was one of the last great original stride pianists, one of the last Big Band Era leaders and one of the few musicians to work with such an amazing list of jazz icons. During our interview with him he told some of the most memorable McShann classic stories such as when he was the first big band to hire Charlie Parker and the true story behind Parker’s nickname Bird. What put Jay in a class by himself was the warm way he told his stories and the humble approach he had toward what is without question one of the great jazz success stories in history.  

Val Eddy was a legendary vibraphonist and composer who played a large part in the early acceptance of the vibraphone in classical music and popular recordings.

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Bobby Byrne played trombone with such control and tenderness that Tommy Dorsey once remarked, "You sit on the edge of your seat waiting to feel the next

Leonard Schmitt opened a small guitar shop to provide lessons in the St. Louis area back in 1932. At the time we wrote a method for teaching music called the Schmitt Music Training Approach.

Mickey Jent opened a small music store in Lubbock, Texas after World War II with her husband, Ray, after his return from military service. The store became a hub for local musicians including Buddy Holly.

William Schultz turned the struggling Fender Musical Instrument Corporation into an industry leader after purchasing the famed guitar company from CBS in 1985.

Jack Hyde was the classic music retailer of the 21st Century. Jack opened a store in the mid 1950s because he loved music, plain and simple. The store, in Northern California, became such a success that he soon opened a chain of Jack’s House of Music stores.

Mildred Kirschner was simply known as Millie around the NAMM headquarters office where she was hired in 1946. The Chicago based association was being run by Mr. Mills when a heart condition forced him to retire.

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